Technologies of Health c.1450–1750


  • Dr Elaine Leong

    University College London

Project summary

We will investigate the production, use and impact of everyday health technologies in Britain and the world c.1450–1750. We will explore a wide range of diverse objects, such as Isaac Newton's drawing of an ear trumpet, birthing chairs and patient records. 

Using a series of detailed case studies, we will seek to understand how technologies crucially influenced past experiences of sickness, medical encounters and healthcare provisions as well as contemporary attitudes towards materials, skills and tools. We will also interrogate the relationship between expanding empires and economies and local ideas about health and the body, recognising the importance of colonial and commercial forces. 

By focusing on everyday health-related activities and how users engaged with, adopted and modified technologies, this research will offer a view of medicine from the ground up, highlighting the dynamic relationship between patient and practitioner, user and maker, and expert and lay person.